Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you
1 Timothy 4 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3 men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; 5 for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.
6 In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. 7 But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; 8 for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 9 It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. 10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.
11 Prescribe and teach these things. 12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. 13 Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching. 14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery. 15 Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. 16 Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.
In our society and culture many people spend many millions of dollars each year on gym memberships, fitness clubs and fitness gear. Surely it is good to have the discipline to exercise and be physically fit, but our lives need balance, we also need to be mentally and spiritually healthy as well. In today’s text Paul says: Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. A person who devotes themselves to bodily discipline might look good, but it does not mean that they will be good. Those who discipline themselves for godliness should not neglect their body, since it is the temple of God, but they also think and do what is good and right. They are concerned with both the present and the eternal. Jesus came to give us eternal life (John 3:16) and abundant life (John 10:10) In Mark 8:36 Jesus says: “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?”With godliness, we gain the kingdom of heaven, even as we are in the world. With godliness we dwell and abide with God and the psalmist declares the benefits of the abiding life in Psalm 91: He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!” For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper And from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. You will not be afraid of the terror by night, Or of the arrow that flies by day; Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon. A thousand may fall at your side And ten thousand at your right hand, But it shall not approach you. You will only look on with your eyes And see the recompense of the wicked. For you have made the Lord, my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place. No evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent. For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, That you do not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and cobra, The young lion and the serpent you will trample down. “Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name. “He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. “With a long life I will satisfy him And let him see My salvation.” Godliness gives us protection, provision, a satisfied life and eternal life. Unlike physical fitness, we cannot work our way to godliness. Godliness is only attained one way. In John 14:6 Jesus says: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
In today’s text Paul says: Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you. We may not all be called and gifted to preach and pastor a church, but we have all been given spiritual gifts. Romans 12:6-8 says: Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives,with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. Whatever spiritual gifts we have been given, we should utilize them both for the benefit of others and for the glory of God. Galatians 5:14-23 says: The whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” … I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. In the text Paul says: Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.
Amen. Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit, in You I have both eternal life and a satisfying abundant life. As I dwell and abide with you, may I become more like You. By Your grace, through the cross and the resurrection; through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, may I attain godliness. May I not neglect the spiritual gifts You have given me and may I persevere in these things so that the fruit of the Spirit would be evident to all. Amen.